Though it still looks pretty much the same on the outside, VW’s New Beetle now comes with just one engine — the same 2.5-liter, in-line five that is also used in the Rabbit and Jetta. As in those models, it is rated at 150 horsepower and works through either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The 1.9-liter TDI diesel engine has been dropped from the roster along with the formerly available turbocharged 1.8-liter gas engine. That means there is no longer a “performance version” of this model (or an “ultra-economy” version) as in previous years. All New Beetles are front-wheel drive. As in prior years, buyers may choose either hardtop coupe or convertible body styles. In 2006, both the exterior and interior of the New Beetle received some cosmetic tweaks, including revised front and rear fascias, fenders and side sills, with elongated and restyled head and taillights and horizontal reverse lights. Inside, you’ll notice new chrome trim around the air vents and a redesigned instrument cluster, plus a revised center console features larger cupholders. Leatherette seating trim is now included, with full leather upholstery optional. Stability control is now standard across the line, along with traction control and anti-lock brakes. Though it’s been out there for awhile, like its namesake and ancestor, the New Beetle has a timeless appeal that few other cars can match. It surprisingly roomy on the inside and the as-it-sits version is well equipped, with standard A/C, 16-inch wheels, and a 10-speaker stereo with CD player.
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